Greetings from Peter Mayer

Monday, March 31, 2014


+John Donne+

“So they gathered up the driftwood made it watertight

And drifted rudderless to the horizon

I’m confused and I’m scared he said
 and we got no land in sight

But I’ve got you dear to keep my eyes on…
We’re on our way to the last island

Don’t look back don’t think twice

Oh we’re on our way to the last island

Something to call our own won’t that be nice
I’m on my way to the last island

Gonna find my piece of paradise

Oh I’m on my way to the last island

Something to call my own
won’t that be nice”

The Last Island by Peter Mayer and Roger Guth

Today is the day the church celebrates the life of John Donne. He is buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. You can read more about his life and his work here.

Perhaps his most popular words are about the inter-connectedness of all people.  His phrase, “No man is an island” gives testimony to the fact that we are all related to one another.

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” John Donne

I think Peter’s song, “The Last Island” is not something that is prescriptive, in other words something that we should attempt to follow or emulate, but rather it is “descriptive” of the desire to have one’s own island, “a piece of paradise.”

So today we have the opportunity to contrast community versus isolation. I am most grateful for organizations that foster community as opposed to the tide of “having my way.”

Blessings to you today as you celebrate being connected and related to one another.



Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mud in Your Eye

Fourth Sunday in Lent
Laetare Sunday

“Dirty Hands Dirty Feet

I’m over my head it’s made a mess of me

But it keeps a coming back to the
Holy road
 means crashing you and me

You’ve gotta walk through
the muddy water to come clean”
Dirty Hands Dirty Feet by Peter Mayer

“As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." 6When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, 7saying to him "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.

So, let’s get this straight in order for Jesus to heal the blind man he mixes up a salve of Saliva and holy ground to make mud and then spreads it on his eyes. The blind man is then instructed to “Go wash in the pool of Siloam.” The blind man (or more appropriately the “Former Blind Man” came back “able to see.”

I tried to check out the origination of the phrase, “here’s mud in your eye.” But, most of the websites had all sorts of extraneous derivations of the phrase. However, I can’t help but think that it has something to do with this incident in the Gospel of John. Jesus like the Prophet Elisha does something that would initially seem to compound the problem as opposed to alleviate it. I also wonder why Jesus didn’t just say, “SEE!” And the blind man would miraculously have vision. What did it mean for Jesus to “get his hands dirty?”

What did it mean for the man to have a “muddy compress” applied to his non-seeing eyes?

The crazy advertisement at the top of the page used to appear in all the comic books that I would devour as a young boy. I think I probably spent more time fantasizing about having x ray vision than I did about any of the characters in the comic books. Just imagine how it would be to have the ability to see through walls and other barriers.

Now as I have grown up (somewhat) I have met blind people who are able to “see” a great deal. Their awareness is heightened and their senses often seem to function at levels which far exceed my capabilities. Conversely there are other people who have 20-20 eyesight and yet their “vision” is somewhat impaired.

During the season of Lent it is part of our journey to catch glimpses of how God sees us. Namely, as daughters and sons for whom God sent Jesus to live, die on a cross and rise from the dead. That particular insight is life-changing.

Today is also known as Laetare Sunday. It is a Holy SPRING BREAK in the middle of Lent. Laetare comes from the Latin translation of Isaiah 66:10 “Laetare Jerusalem” - "O be Joyful, Jerusalem.”

Be Joyful!

You’ve gotta walk through
the muddy water to come clean



Saturday, March 29, 2014


"Strength" created by Delia Stewart

 Longer than shadows
Closer than emptiness
Oh.... Mighty this love
Oh.... Mighty this love

It led me to peace at the river
It woke me in the rage of the wind
Called me up to the mountain back through the valley again


 At the same time there is something ironic and holy about a "stained glass clown."  Usually only very serious people get their image made into a stained glass window.  I remember as a child looking at all sorts of stained glass windows (primarily in churches). I don't ever remember anyone ever being depicted as smiling. In fact, in most cases the images were of martyrs who were giving up their life for the sake of the gospel.

So this stained glass clown (a gift from my wife Sue Ann, given to me 30 years ago when I was ordained) captures the "foolishness of the gospel." Designed by seminary classmate David Rumbold, it features big green hair; a large red nose; a great smile; a cross and a rainbow. Contrary to popular belief, I was not the model for the clown!   %^))))

The clown reflects the words of St. Paul who wrote to the Corinthians in chapter 1:25,

"For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength."

Delia's angel "Strength" coupled with the lyrics of Peter's song reflect the whole notion of strength and weakness. God's love, as Peter sings, is "Mighty." At times it might appear to be "weak" or even "foolish," but it is "Mighty." In the midst of whatever struggles we are going through, we are connected by a "chain of love" which connects us to God, to one another, to the past and to the future.

Peter's song and Delia's "Strength" echo the lovely words from Isaiah 55:

8For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.   
9For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
10For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 
11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 
12For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

I pray that today you will experience "Strength" in new, different and even funny ways.


Friday, March 28, 2014


“Waterfall drink your fill

Washing over you it spills

Night and day it’s runnin’ wild

We’re born to be a river child
Tossed about like a toy

From the badlands to good soil

We could’ve never bargained for

This mighty ride of Joy
This is Love that’s been spilled

This is grace that is willed

Every empty heart be filled

Waterfall waterfall”

Waterfall by Peter Mayer, Brendan Mayer + Adam Guth

It’s all about baptism. I was in a museum dedicated to ancient manuscripts. This particular place was built to house “texts” long before the word “text” became a verb.

It is really a temple for the written word. The benefactor collected sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I spent quite a bit of time just wandering around and looking at these magnificent books, scrolls and drawings.

Just as I was leaving the building, my eye was drawn to the lovely display of water.  I thought to myself, “Wow, if I was in charge of church architecture I’d want every worship space to have significant sacred space dedicated to a water exhibition."

For me, it’s all about baptism. It tells us who we are and whose we are. Peter calls us “river children” for it is “love that’s been spilled, this is grace that is willed, Every empty heart be filled.”

Celebrate the gift of water today and every day.



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Joy Cubed!

“These days of winter have come to bury you
No sign of spring and no promise to carry you
No flowers blooming in your window sill
And the beat of your heart is too still…
And the beat of your heart is too still… Oh sing

Joy joy joy in the morning
Joy joy in the afternoon
Joy joy joy for the child is born
This night the promise is given to you”

Sing Joy by Peter Mayer

Irene’s funeral was yesterday. About 18 of us gather around her three adult children to celebrate her life. Irene was born in Bavaria and was 5 years old when Hitler came to power. Her childhood was much different than most people I know. She liked to recite her Confirmation passage for me “auf Deutsch”:

Psalm 37:5 from the Luther Bibel 1545 (LUTH1545)
5 Befiehl dem HERRN deine Wege und hoffe auf ihn; er wird's wohl machen 
5Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. 
Her life wasn’t an easy life, but she had deep joy in her soul and heart. Whenever I would visit her we would talk about art, music, theology and wood carvings. One of our Caring Visitors, Helen,  calculated that she had visited Irene approximately 90 times. Caring Visitors at our church bring the sacraments to members who are homebound. Helen brought Irene joy and I know Irene brought joy to Helen as well.

The PsalmBook at the top of the page is one which I purchased one day when Peter Mayer and I were browsing around guitar shops, bookstores and coffee shops.

The book is open to Psalm 33 which I like to think as some of the inspiration for Peter’s song, SING JOY-

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous.Praise befits the upright. 
2Praise the LORD with the lyre;make melody to him with the harp of ten strings. 
3Sing to him a new song;play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. 
4For the word of the LORD is upright,and all his work is done in faithfulness. 
5He loves righteousness and justice;the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD. 
6By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,and all their host by the breath of his mouth.